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Horia Petrache, Physics, Faculty

Physics professor appreciates IUPUI’s interdisciplinary environment

Horia Petrache, Ph.D. | Assistant Professor | Department of Physics Horia Petrache says there’s good reason his School of Science physics web page is frequently under construction.

“It’s because good things happen faster than we can acknowledge them.”

This kind of upbeat, positive attitude is evident in Petrache’s work as an assistant professor of physics at the School of Science and a biophysics researcher. Working in the field of biomembrane physics, Petrache uses a variety of experimental methods, including x-ray and light scattering, ultraviolet and NMR spectroscopy, and calorimetry. He also conducts measurements of ion channels and reconstituted membranes and calculations of entropy in complex systems.

A former postdoctoral fellow at both the National Institutes of Health and Johns Hopkins University, Petrache joined the School of Science in 2006 for many reasons – one of which is the school’s potential for multidisciplinary research.

“In academic institutions there are often big gaps between physical and life sciences,” notes Petrache. “And it’s not really about the different sciences, but about the different perspectives of scientists in different fields. IUPUI is a place where interdisciplinary work can be possible, and the solution is to introduce students to interdisciplinary work early in their careers.”

Encouraging students to become involved is an important priority for Petrache. For the past three years he has organized a summer research program for high school students. At the School of Science, he has undergraduate and graduate students working in his lab.

“Teaching IUPUI’s highly motivated students, both in class and in the laboratory, is the highlight of my time here,” says Petrache. “It’s a highlight when students graduate and look happy or when they write and tell me they got the job they wanted or got into the graduate school of their dreams.”

Petrache earned his doctoral and master’s degrees in physics at Carnegie Mellon University. He also studied at the University of Bucharest, receiving a Diploma Theoretical Physics and at “Dr. I. Mesota” Lyceum, earning a Baccalaureate Mathematics and Physics.

Visit Petrache’s Lab Website.